Eusebius As An Historian -- By: Lyman Coleman

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 015:57 (Jan 1858)
Article: Eusebius As An Historian
Author: Lyman Coleman


Eusebius As An Historian

Lyman Coleman

Eusebius was a native of Palestine. Of his parentage and early education we are in singular ignorance. The date even of his birth is not well defined; but from certain incidental data in his writings, it appears that he must have been born within the period from A. D. 259 to 270. About the year 315 he was chosen bishop of Caesarea, and continued for twenty-five years the incumbent of this office until his death, A. D. 340.

One of the first of his literary labors was a work on history and chronology, entitled Chronicon. In this he undertook to describe the origin and progress of all nations from their rise respectively to the age of Constantine, and to

establish the chronological data of their several histories. It was, perhaps, the first compend of universal history. The original work is lost, but some fragments of it yet remain, while other parts have been preserved in a translation by Jerome.

Among the chief works of Eusebius now extant, may be mentioned:

An Evangelical Preparation, or Preparation for the Demonstration of the Truth of the Gospel. His course of argument is extended through fifteen books, in which he exposes the folly of heathen theology and worship, Grecian, Phoenician and Egyptian, together with the vanity of their oracles and arts of divination. He answers the objections of Jews and Gentiles against Christianity, and exhibits the superiority of the Jewish above other forms of religion, showing at length that the Greeks borrowed all that was really good in their philosophy from the Jews.

As a sequel to his Evangelical Preparation, Eusebius published A Demonstration of the Truth of the Gospel in twenty books, ten of which are lost. This Demonstration was designed chiefly for the conviction of the Jews. In the course of his argument he shows the superiority of the Christian to the Jewish religion, in that it is not adapted to one people only, but to all nations. He labors to convince the Jews, out of their own Scriptures, that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world, evidently foretold and set forth as such by their own prophets. The value of this work and of all the author’s expositions of the Scriptures, is greatly impaired by his interpretations, according to which he, like Origen, his great master, considers the double sense of all revealed truth.

We have from the same hands a treatise on the Topography of the Scriptures, commonly denominated the Onomasticon of Eusebius. Living at an age so early, and having passed all his life in Palestine, in familiar acquaintance with the sites of sacred history, he po...

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